It’s a good-news / bad-news day for New Yorkers who like sushi. The good news is that a New York Times report about trace levels of mercury in tuna sushi came up with nothing but safe, wholesome fish. The bad news is that Times health writer Marian Burros doesn’t know it.
Working for the Times, a Rutgers University lab tested 44 pieces of fish from 20 restaurants and stores, and the highest mercury level it found was 1.40 parts per million. This is less than one-seventh of the lowest mercury concentration associated with actual health risks in scientific studies. But Burros, apparently relying on some activist’s astrolabe and mood ring, pronounced the fish “tainted” with “high mercury levels.”
The botched story goes downhill from there. We’re telling the major media today that the Times story contains so many scientific errors that it should be completely retracted. Click here to read our press release, detailing the mistakes in this article.
It’s worth noting that the Rutgers lab the Times relied on is the same one the activist “GotMercury” project used for a reckless September 2006 report about tuna sushi in Chicago. The Chicago Tribune also used the lab for its equally irresponsible “Mercury Menace” series in December 2005.
The Tribune eventually came to its senses somewhat, quietly recognizing the glaring inconsistency between its own environmental reporting and more level-headed science. Whether or not the Times follows suit, we’ll be here to steer the national discussion about fish back in the direction of reality and sound science.